Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

April 07, 2004

Unverified vote is great insult to democracy

All the concerns voiced by opponents of a paper audit trail for the state's electronic voting machines are negated by the fact that they have been solved by companies that already produce voting machines that provide a voter-verified paper ballot audit trail and conform to federal standards ("Senate ponders voting receipts," March 29).

Machines exist today that allow all voters, including the blind, to verify that their votes have been accurately recorded, and that provide a permanent independent record of votes that would allow us to audit the machine tallies and perform valid recounts. These machines protect the privacy of all voters even better than the Diebold Election Systems touch-screen machines currently used in Maryland.

The concerns by the opponents of a paper trail are what have been exaggerated, while the vulnerability to fraud or malfunction of the present system has been well documented by two official studies and numerous erroneous election results across the country.

And to claim that it would be easier to change millions of paper ballots at thousands of locations across the state than to alter these votes by malicious tampering with a centralized, completely electronic system is absurd.

Our present system cannot be checked for accuracy, and that is an insult to citizens in democracy.

Robert Ferraro

Burtonsville

The writer is a director of truevotemd.org.

Affirming the call for a paper trail

I have one word for The Sun's editorial "Voters need paper trail" (April 4): Amen.

Craig Herud

Aberdeen

Flouting public will should anger voters

After decades of Democratic rule, Maryland voters elected Republican Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., primarily on his pledge to legalize slot machines to wipe out the state's budget deficit.

So what happened? Not only has an impasse on slots developed in the Assembly, but almost all of Mr. Ehrlich's agenda is threatened, including his bill to clean up the bay ("Ehrlich agenda appears in peril," April 4).

Because the Maryland legislature is dominated by Democrats, the governor's slate of favored bills may be emasculated in the closing days of the session.

I'm a Democrat who did not vote for Mr. Ehrlich, but it seems to me that the voters who elected him should raise their voices in anger over being ignored. At the very least, they should apply pressure on their representatives to support the slots legislation, since this was the issue that swayed so many voters to cast their ballots for Mr. Ehrlich.

Albert E. Denny

Baltimore

Voters' message was quite clear

KAL's April 4 editorial cartoon should have left out the people's thoughts.

No one needs a crystal ball to discern what was quite clearly spoken by the people's vote for Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. I heard slots equal jobs. No more road trips to Delaware, Atlantic City, N.J., or Charles Town, W.Va.

When are our so-called leaders going to vote the way the public wants them to?

Rayburn Levy

Baltimore

Ehrlich didn't win much of a mandate

The governor and other proponents of slots continually refer to the "mandate" the governor was given on this issue in the 2002 election.

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. won the election by 66,170 votes, a margin of 3.87 percent, which hardly constitutes a mandate. Indeed, the governor was carried to victory largely by Baltimore County, where he defeated his opponent by 64,725 votes, so any mandate he might claim came from Baltimore County.

And where are slots a "nonstarter" (to use the governor's term)? In Baltimore County, of course. In fact, all three Republican delegates in the 42nd District, which contains the Timonium racetrack, are opposed to slots at that facility.

Perhaps Dels. Susan L. M. Auman, William J. Frank and John G. Trueschler haven't heard about that mandate.

Leo Ryan Jr.

Towson

Governor draws his lines in stone

State House Speaker Michael E. Busch has been unfairly criticized for being intractable with his practical and principled stance in the slots/tax debate. However, as recent statements show, Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. is the one whose lines are not drawn in sand, but in stone ("Delegates hint deal with slots and taxes," April 1).

Several years into his administration, Mr. Ehrlich still has not learned that compromise is the price of progress.

But as a foe of slots, I am pleased that Mr. Ehrlich's legacy seems to be limited to futile, one-sided demands.

John Troll

Baltimore

Overlooking woes of crowded schools

Baltimore County officials want to regulate church dinners because of public health concerns ("Tougher rules for church dinners," March 31). This is the same county government that looks the other way when confronted with health problems faced by students at overcrowded schools.

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